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TO: Linda Miller, UCAR / Unidata
CONTACT: Bob Hansen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GOES-9 WEATHER SATELLITE
UNDERGOING SPECIAL OPERATIONS
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it began a
two-week period of special operations today to try to prolong the life of
instruments on the GOES-9 weather satellite, which overlooks the West Coast
and out into the Pacific Ocean.
"GOES-9 is operating as it should, but has lost a backup motor on the
imager," said Gary Davis, NOAA's director of satellite operations. "The
problem has been proven to be caused by heat."
By changing the spacecraft orientation and pointing the imager away from
the sun periodically, the maximum temperature swing can be reduced by up to
10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). "We expect this to have a
positive effect on prolonging the life of the instruments," Davis said.
The procedure will mean no images from GOES-9 for a period of about six
hours every day during the two-week period, centered around 0900 GMT
(midnight local time, 5:00 a.m. EDT). During the two weeks, NOAA will
evaluate results and look at options such as use of other data during the
imager's downtime. If results are positive, the outages
will be implemented in August, October, February and April, when the
instrument runs the hottest because of the relative position of the Earth
and sun. This procedure will only affect 25 percent (or six hours per
day) of the data during eight weeks of the year - a data outage of less
than 4 percent annually.
The evaluation procedure was worked out in consultation with NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center.
NOAA's GOES-8 satellite, overlooking the East Coast and out into the
Atlantic Ocean, will continue its normal operations. NOAA is currently
planning to launch its next GOES satellite in the spring of 1997, with a
redesigned motor to prevent a similar problem.